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Powell says justice will be done on prison abuse

PTI | ByReuters, Copenhagen
May 25, 2004 08:01 PM IST

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell published on Monday a written apology for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell published on Monday a written apology for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib military prison, saying he would see that justice was done.

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Powell's remarks were published in a letter in the Danish daily Politiken, just days before parliament was to decide whether to extend the presence of Danish troops in Iraq.

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Denmark is part of the coalition that invaded Iraq to topple dictator Saddam Hussain last year and its government has had wide support for keeping its soldiers in Iraq.

Powell has already apologised to Iraqi prisoners abused by U.S. soldiers, as has President George W. Bush, who on May 6 said he was "sorry for the humiliation" of Iraqis who were kept naked, stacked on top of each other, forced to engage in sex acts and struck and photographed by their American jailers in Abu Ghraib prison.

"The President has expressed an apology on behalf of the nation. We will reinforce that apology", Powell said in the letter. "I can tell you straight from my heart: We will deal with this. We will see that justice is done."

Powell also said the United States would stand fast by its plan to hand over power to the Iraqis on June 30 this year.

"The Coalition Provisional Authority will dissolve, and authority - all authority - will pass to the Iraqi government," Powell said.

NATO member Denmark has been a resolute U.S. ally in the war in Iraq, but Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said two weeks ago extraordinary measures must be taken to restore confidence in the Arab world following the prisoner abuse scandal.

The Danish parliament is expected to take a formal decision in late May to extend its mission in Iraq and alleviate pressure on British troops in Basra. 

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